Thursday, September 01, 2011

The part of the novel "Moby Dick" that sticks with me and pops into my mind uninvited has nothing to do with Captain Ahab and his crazed quest to kill the huge, even for a whale, whale that hurt him.

It's the part where some of the crew are in the water surrounded by acres of whales, whales as far as the eye can see, an unimaginable number of whales right there before them and around them.

The men are debating whether there will ever be a lot fewer whales than that, whether humans can make any dent, or a serious dent, in the numbers.

They agree that no, there are too many whales for humans to really reduce the numbers, and they go back to working at what was well-paying work, compared to similar work in other sea jobs, for everyone whaling. The author seems to agree.

I'll be reading the newspaper, or looking at trash flying in the air, and suddenly I'm with all those guys; I see all those whales and feel the whalers' confidence.